Want to earn more revenue? Is your goal for your company to post its best numbers yet? Hire more women for leadership roles.
There is growing and substantial evidence that having women in top leadership roles can enhance a company’s performance, significantly increase its net margins and even produce more innovative ideas. Companies with women at the C-Suite level produce an average of 20% more patents than teams with all-male leadership. Having women at top levels of leadership enhances not only the company’s bottom line, but also benefits the hiring process and the workplace environment overall, with less gender discrimination, less employee turnover, and higher satisfaction for workers overall.
Why is this, you may ask? Researchers are still pinpointing exactly why having women in top roles lead to such positive effects, but we can zero in on a few reasons. First, it’s no secret that men’s and women’s brains are wired differently. According to a study at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, men may be more inclined to take quick and decisive action, while women may be more suited to carefully analyze a problem. Both are necessary forces in the workplace.
Second, companies with women in leadership tend to demonstrate a higher level of satisfaction for workers overall, thanks to more transparency and more diversity in hiring and workplace environment. Think about it: if you have a boardroom intentionally populated with a diversity of gender, ethnicity, and education, then you also gain a diverse range of thought and perspective that is invaluable to company culture.
The problem? While the “women’s liberation” movement was decades ago, company culture in the United States has not yet caught up. As of 2018, among the world’s largest 500 companies, only 10.9% of senior executives are women. There are many complicated factors that play a role in this statistic, but the bottom line is, if we want our companies to be more profitable, more innovative, and more desirable to work for, we need to not only hire women but promote them to top executive positions.
Unfortunately, gender bias exists in both men and women, and some are so hard-wired that it is unconscious. To combat this, we can make it a point to catch ourselves making assumptions about gender, and challenging those assumptions in order to reevaluate them. When we are tempted to make an assumption about a woman in leadership, for example, we should stop and ask ourselves, “Would I think this same thing about a man in leadership who is acting the exact same way?”
With intentionality and increased awareness, we can build diverse, successful companies with equal opportunities for men and women. Happy International Women’s Day!